Cuba

World Watch ranking: 22
Map thumbnail
Leader
President Miguel Diaz-Canel

How many Christians?
7 million (61.7%)

Main threats
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Communist and post-Communist oppression

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How many Christians are there in Cuba?

There are almost seven million Christians in Cuba – that’s more than half of its 11.3 million population.

How are Christians persecuted in Cuba?

In Cuba, anything deemed to be in competition with the Communist Party is quashed – and that includes Christianity.  

Church leaders and believers who speak out against human injustice or political corruption – or who dare to criticise the regime – risk harassment, smear campaigns and even imprisonment. The government has also made it increasingly difficult for active critics of the government to travel, which can impact the finances of Christian families who rely on money sent home by men working outside the country.

Authorities can also target churches. Because churches require registration to be legal, the government can deny this or simply ignore the application of some religious groups, forcing them to operate illegally. This makes it easy for them to fine congregations, demolish buildings, confiscate property or close churches down entirely. 

Churches that have been given registration do so under extreme scrutiny and monitoring, which includes infiltration by security agents and citizens sympathetic to the regime. 

Registered or unregistered, churches continue to be open for worship throughout Cuba – but only as long as the government allows it. As soon as a leader or a Christian is deemed to be anti-government or anti-revolutionary, the response is swift and harsh. 

Meet ‘Pastor Angel’

“After these 40 years in the ministry, I have learned that we must face life's trials and tribulations
with courage and trust in God.” Pastor angel, church leader in Cuba.

What’s life like for Christians in Cuba?

Shortly after coming to power in 1939, Fidel Castra initiated a crackdown that forced many believers underground. Pastor Angel* was just three years old when his father was arrested for his involvement in church leadership. He was detained for three years.

After these awful experiences, Pastor Angel resolved to never get involved with church ministry – but God had other plans. “Yes, here I am, involved in the Christian ministry and preaching the gospel in Cuba,” he says. “My wife and I have been pastors in several churches, in both urban and rural areas. In all of these churches, we have seen how God has kept and protected us.”

That’s despite encountering that hostility that his father was familiar with. Recently, Pastor Angel has faced fines, imprisonment, threats and beatings for his faith. But like so many other believers in Cuba today who are experiencing similar opposition, he and his wife cling resolutely to Jesus. 

*Name changed for security reasons

Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Cuba? 

Yes, which explains why the country has risen five places in the latest ranking. The Cuban regime continues to crack down on believers, especially those who dare to speak out against the authorities.

Parliamentary elections were held in March 2023, but they were in no way free or fair – instead, they were used to prop up the Communist government. Many Cuban Christians are afraid to speak out against this kind of corruption, or simply believe it won't make any difference. 

How can I help Christians in Cuba?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Cuba. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Open Doors' local partners strengthen the persecuted church in Cuba through Bible distribution, livelihood projects, biblical training, leadership development projects, care and support for children and pastors' families, and socio-economic development.

please pray

Dear God, we ask You to be with our sisters and brothers in Cuba. We pray especially for those who speak out against the injustice they see in their country – thank You for giving them boldness and Your heart for justice. We ask You to protect them and help them to know You love them. We also pray for those who lead churches, that you would help them navigate the tension of daily life and ministry. Amen.

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